Have you ever heard someone say, "I have zero creativity"? Next time you hear someone say it, it's likely you will think very differently about it. I believe we are all created in the image of our creator which means we are creative by nature. Everything man has ever created was first an image or vision in their mind. Creativity is part of our DNA.
Creation is the action behind vision.
When you think of a creative person, who comes to mind?
- Bill Gates?
- Mark Zuckerberg?
- Albert Einstein?
- Billy Joel?
- Steven Spielberg?
- Tom Cruise?
- Tony Robbins?
- Chevy Chase?
- Joel Osteen?
- Larry The Cable Guy?
All of these people are creative in their own way, and at the same time, each one of them expresses themselves in very different ways. You don't have to be like any one of them; you simply need to be yourself and express yourself the way you were made to do.
When we are creative, we feel the most joy, fulfillment, and happiness. When we create it is never for our benefit alone, others benefit from our creativity. Creativity causes prosperity. If you desire to help others and earn a healthy living doing so, you will need to keep creating. How do you stay in a constant state of creativity?
Steve Jobs had this to say about creativity. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. Steve Jobs.
David Campbell had the following to say about the devolution of creativity: "At age 7, we ask, 'Why'? At age 17, we ask, 'Why not'? At age 37, we insist, 'Because!' "Like any muscle that goes unused for a time, our creativity is in danger of atrophying. Below are 10 ways to reverse this devolution of creative thought.
10 Ways to Increase Your Creativity
What you’re about to read isn’t necessarily a system, but each action serves as a launch-pad for creative ideation:
- Cultivate a playful spirit of curiosity. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, be inquisitive: How loud is the sun? How can alligators hold their breath underwater for so long? Where do the clouds go on a clear day? How can you transmit electricity wirelessly? If you are traveling at the speed of light and you turn your headlights on what happens? Why don’t wales freeze? How does the moon affect the waves? Some of these questions won’t interest you. If you like humor, ask goofy questions. Look around you and be aware. Find the answers to questions that matter to you. Feed your curiosity.
- Discard old routines and design new ones. We all have the habit of building artificial barriers in our lives. We create patterns that can be like cages and stifle creativity. Good habits can do a lot for us, but at times we wander through life mindlessly. Most of us don't like change, especially changing our routines. We convince ourselves that what works best, is working inside of the confines we create. The problem is you will never discover anything new working inside of the walls of familiarity. Abandon some of your old habits and routines and see what you can find. Take a different route to work, change your morning routine, change the conversation you have with others. Try some new things.
- Be a voracious reader. Read blogs, books, articles, newsletters, etc. Reading feeds our minds with new and creative thoughts. Reading allows you to see things differently and enables you to learn new things. Read different kinds of books and open the spigot on your interests. Be sure to read for business and pleasure. Reading forces you to create images in your mind that do not already exist. Have you ever heard someone say I read a book and watched the movie and the book was so much better than the movie? I read The Hobbit, and the book was better than the movie. I read Star Wars, and the book was better than the movie. The reason this happens is not because the movie failed to convey what was in the book; it's because the movie did not match the images you created for yourself.
- Tap the minds of others. Get together with some friends or colleagues and bring up an unsolved problem and brainstorm a solution. You will notice very quickly it’s easier as a group which is why mastermind groups are so popular. Case in point: Belgian draft horses are one of the strongest horses in the world. One Belgian draft horse can pull 8,000 pounds but two working together can pull 24,000 pounds, and if they were raised to work together they can pull 30,000 to 32,000 pounds. That's four times as much as one. That’s the synergy of working collaboratively with others. Imagine your capabilities if you teamed up with others.
- Brainstorm new ideas. Brainstorming forces creative ideas from both analytical thinking and critical thinking. While brainstorming don't be critical of anything, have an anything goes mindset and keep going especially when you are stuck. You can write, talk to your smartphone, etc. but get your thoughts out of your head into a recording and onto paper.
- Combine thoughts with other disciplines. I’ve already demonstrated this to some extent. If you’re trying to solve a problem and brainstorm a solution, consider combining what you are doing with other areas of interests like sports, religion, sciences, arts, history, economics, philosophy, or medicine. If it's working in those areas, it might work with the problem you are trying to solve.
- Remove yourself from the equation you are trying to solve. Have you ever been in the shower, sleeping, on the treadmill, at the beach or walking with your spouse when all of a sudden the solution to the problem you have been trying to solve comes to mind? Whenever you get stuck, take a break and leave the problem behind and do something else. The solution may not come to you right away, but a new perspective can bring you closer to the solution.
- Incubate your ideas. Ideas need time to become, incubate, or gestate. You need to allow your mind the time it needs to form the idea into a mature thought. Much like wine takes time to become a quality wine, your ideas need time to simmer. You can’t rush ideas. You need time to meditate on ideas and work through the kinks. Creativity takes time, practice, persistence and the motivation to keep testing new things.
- Embrace hardship and frustration. It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention, which is true but it is also true that frustration is the father of progress. Challenges, hardship, and troubles will come but it is in those times we often find the best path to the solution. There’s an amazing scene in the movie Apollo 13, where there is a problem with the air filter on board the lunar module, and it won't be long before the men on board will begin blacking out. Kranz played by Ed Harris says to the engineers "I suggest you gentlemen figure out a way to put a square peg in a round hold rapidly." The guys then dump out a bunch of random objects on a table with the lifesaving task of designing a filter that will save the lives of the crew in the space module. It’s often in the face of hardship or necessity that creativity presents itself so evidently. Don’t be too quick to eliminate all hardship or need from your life. Instead, embrace it and leverage it to your advantage.
- Shamelessly borrow. Get ideas from others, add to them, change them, repackage them and then take advantage of them. Don’t plagiarize and give credit where credit is due. Allow the creativity of others to act as the catalyst to your creative ideas.
You are a creative person made in the image of your creator. Believe that about yourself. Go deeper into yourself and discover that you are at your best when you are being creative. Take these tips to improve your creativity, and like a well-oiled machine, your creative mind will produce innovative solutions over and over again.
Creation is the action behind vision.